A boarding school in northwestern Nigeria was attacked by gunmen on Sunday night, 5 July. Of the 165 students who were sleeping in the school, 140 were kidnapped, probably for ransom.
Gunmen attacked a boarding school in Kaduna State, northwestern Nigeria, on Sunday night, kidnapping 140 students, presumably to exchange them for ransom, a school official said.
A total of 165 students were sleeping at Bethel Secondary School in Chikun, but “the attackers took 140 students with them, 25 managed to escape,” Emmanuel Paul, a teacher at the school, told AFP. “The gunmen climbed the fence to enter the school,” he said, stressing that “everything indicates that they arrived on foot.”
This is the third major attack in Kaduna in the last three days. On Sunday, at least eight staff of a hospital in the state were kidnapped, according to the police, although local sources say 15 people were abducted, including two nurses and their baby. Seven people were also killed Sunday night in sporadic attacks in nearby communities, said Samuel Aruwan, the Kaduna government’s security officer.
Mass kidnapping of students for ransom
Criminal groups, commonly referred to as “bandits” by the authorities, are terrorising people in northwestern and central Nigeria. They attack villages, steal cattle and kidnap local people and travellers for ransom on the roads. They operate from camps in the Rugu forest, which spans the Nigerian states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.
Recently, these criminal groups have embarked on attacks targeting schools and universities, carrying out mass abductions of students for ransom. More than 1,000 children, teenagers and students have been abducted since December, and some are still in the hands of their captors.